Rajasthan: Doctors salute couple’s struggle to save daughter

Even today, a lot of families across the country find girl child to be a burden. But a family in Udaipur in Rajasthan, a place where female foeticide is still an ugly reality has shown exemplary courage by giving birth to a girl child with neonatal complications

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For Bhavna and Ajay (names changed), it was the greatest gift of God to see their three-and-half month old survive the odds and come home from the Neonatal ICU at Jivanta Children’s Hospital, Udaipur.

“We are grateful to Bhavna and her family. We appreciate them for setting a new example to the community. In Rajasthan, where the girls still considered a burden and are thrown in the trash immediately after birth or are left in the orphanage,” said Dr Sunil Janged, Chief Neonatologist at Jivanta Children’s Hospital.

Bhavna and Ajay, resident of Jaipur were very happy as they were going to have a baby, but the fate had other plans for them. It all started when Bhavna experienced preterm labour pain in the 24th weeks of pregnancy, while the normal pregnancy duration is 40 weeks. On delivery, the baby girl was an extreme preterm with the baby weighing only 600 grams. A normal kid would weigh between 2,500 grams.

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The baby had various complications. Baby was not able to breathe. Dr Janged said “To salvage infants of this size was challenging. It’s like walking on a two edge sword. Even slightest of noise, movement or small overdose of drug could put their brain at risk of haemorrhage. Sometimes all your efforts go in vain. Babies born this small have extremely poor function of all body organs which include lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, intestine, skin, adrenals etc. and all of them need support for survival of the baby.”

He explained that problems related to any one system can singularly kill the baby and is the commonest outcome in these cases. “The babies that young have only 20%-30% chance of survival and only 5-10% survive without brain damage. We call her a ‘Miracle baby’. To make the baby survive baby glucose, proteins were started through central vein, drugs (surfactant) were given to expand the tiny lungs, regular screening of heart & brain were performed to rule out any bleeding in brain.”

Amidst all this, the weight of the baby dropped to 500 grams. Gradually she started digesting few drops of milk. The baby required respiratory support on and off for a period of about 2 ½ months. She was able to start drinking from spoon only after about 12 weeks of birth.

In all, she was in the NICU for almost 107 days and today she is being discharged with her weight coming close to 2000 grams.